Just a few quick notes on the current campaign through the eyes of a white liberal who has never felt the Bern.
The Sanders campaign announced Tuesday it raised $42.7 million in February, and the Clinton campaign announced Wednesday morning it raised $30 million during the month.
There are three times as many nonblack voters as black voters in the Democratic primary electorate. To cancel her strength, Mr. Sanders would need to win nonblack voters by about 20 percentage points, since Mrs. Clinton leads by more than 60 points among black voters.
And now backing things out a bit.
The Dean campaign in 2004 was overwhelmingly white liberals who were looking for a cause. The Dean campaign was the first time I showed up on an FEC report.
The Obama coalition in the 2008 primary was a combination of white liberals and the African American community plus not getting crushed among the other major groups within the Democratic primary electorate. The Sanders coalition is primarily white liberals and rural Democrats. The Clinton 2008 coalition was moderate and conservative Democrats, Latinos and a bit more female then the party as a whole. Her coalition in 2016 is her 2008 coalition plus the African American bloc.
What we are seeing is the limit of white liberal power within the Democratic coalition.
It is more than sufficient to fund campaigns but it is insufficient to create a durable national majority. White liberals by themselves are a much larger, and far less crazy analogue to the Paulbots of the Republican Party — more then sufficient to generate a lot of money and advance ideological arguments. It is well connected to to privileged positions within the media and discussion ecosystem and due to its demographics plus committment of its members, it can fundraise efficiently on the internet at small to medium donor levels. Internet fundraising allows for a fairly low burn rate on the part of ideological and aspirational campaigns to tap this set of small donors. These are two very strong political assets.
However white liberals alone or with minor coalition partners, are not able to form a majority within the Democratic Party. . White liberals get a whole lot closer to forming a majority than libertarian dude bros but they cap out significantly short of a majority.